GMH radiology team steps up in wake of Ribati’s death, with support from Guam medical community

When Dr. Miran Ribati died Sunday, his killer didn’t simply take his life. Dr. Ribati was Guam Memorial Hospital’s interventional radiologist, and the head of the radiology department.

GMH has spent years and exhaustive searches to bring professionals like Dr. Ribati to its facility. Doctors – especially those with specialized training like Dr. Ribati – are in short supply globally. And now with the doctor’s untimely death, GMH has had to pivot suddenly, and in the midst of a grieving and traumatized staff.

”GMHA’s interventional radiology operations have overall remained on course and steady,” GMH spokeswoman Mai Habib began explaining, “We have had community interventional radiologists, who were already privileged at GMHA, step up and support our hospital in this difficult time. We are so incredibly grateful to the entire GMHA IR team, from nurses to technologists to admin staff, who have showed an unbelievable level of strength and professionalism, continuing to serve our community’s needs.”

Kandit has confirmed with Ms. Habib that Guam Radiology Consultants, which has an existing contract with GMHA, is continuing to provide diagnostic radiology services to support GMHA IR department. “We’ve had an existing contract with GRC and they’re simply helping us as they have previously,” Ms. Habib said.

Akmal Khozhiev was arrested Sunday evening for Dr. Ribati’s death. According to the Guam Police Department, Dr. Ribati went to Mr. Khozhiev’s apartment in Tamuning and an argument followed in Khozhiev’s bedroom. Police allege Khozhiev began choking and stabbing the doctor, who fled the apartment and was pursued by Khozhiev, who continued stabbing Ribati. Video of Khozhiev’s apprehension show his hands stained with blood. The two were friends, according to sources close to both of them, and had forged a bond while training in mixed martial arts gym Steel Athletics in Tamuning. (Kandit previously published in this story that the two “appeared to have a rivalry,” which was an inaccurate statement. We have since edited that part).

Prosecutors will be in court Tuesday afternoon pursuing charges against Mr. Khozhiev, who has been detained pending his appearance before the magistrate judge for those charges.

”I’m not aware of the specifics in this case, but if there are elements of defense that are found within the castle doctrine statute, yes, it will be looked into as part of the prosecutor’s review,” attorney general’s spokeswoman Carlina Charfauros said in response to Kandit’s inquiry as to whether prosecutors are weighing a castle doctrine defense in this case. “It was confirmed by prosecution that the case is being held for magistrate hearing (Tuesday).”

In the meantime, the GMH community is mourning the death of one of their own. In a news release issued Monday, the authority wrote:

“Dr. Ribati was an Interventional Radiologist at GMHA, serving the community for over three years. His talents were undeniable and impeccable; his passion unparalleled; his accolades from patients in droves. He will be sorely missed among colleagues, staff and the entire Guam healthcare community.

“GMHA will have counselling services for our staff community, as we all process, heal and make sense of this tragic loss.

“Our hearts and condolences are with Dr. Ribati’s family. May God bless them and support them in this difficult time.”

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